- Subject: Science/ Environment
- Driving Question: How can we reduce excessive, unnecessary food miles?
- Pedagogical Method: Project-Based Learning / 5E
- Grade Level: 7, 8, 9
- Duration: 5-6 periods
- Delivery Method: Blended
In this lesson, by applying the 5E instructional model, students will be able to, hypothetically, calculate the food miles of a shawarma sandwich and develop a dish that has traveled minimal miles.
- Materials: laptops/tablets
- Define the term "food miles" and identify its characteristic features
- Identify the reasons that justify the necessity of food importation
- Explore the impact of their food miles on the environment
- Identify some means to reduce their excessive and unnecessary food miles
- Develop a dish with minimum food miles
- In this phase, students engage in activities that aim to activate their prior knowledge and inspire them to explore the world around them. Encourage them to be curious and ask meaningful questions!
Have students observe the image in the Engage section of the Food Miles module. Then, ask them what they think the cashier means by 19,840 food miles.
- After listening to students’ answers, you can introduce the purpose of the project and share the following facts with the students. Food is being transported longer and longer distances – ‘food miles’ – from producer to consumer. In Lebanon, comparatively little of the food we consume comes from local producers; and 85% of it is transported over great distances. Transport is both energy-intensive and polluting. Importing food by air is particularly serious, consuming 37 times more fuel than shipping. But the concept of food miles isn’t just about distances and carbon footprint. In this project, students will explore some of the wider environmental and economic implications of the international food trade.
In this phase, students engage in research and exploration of their practices and surroundings.
1. Observation and Research-based Learning
Have students fulfill the activities in the I Explore worksheet.
2. Discussion of Results
Have students discuss the results of their research in groups and write their answers on their copybooks or save them on a word file.
Foster a rich whole-class discussion about students' observations and research results.
- In this phase, students identify more linkages among the discussed concepts as they engage in a set of interactive activities. E-learning is based on discovery, play, and instant feedback.
Ask students to solve the E-Learn section of the Food Miles module and encourage them to be autonomous learners.
- At the end of the E-Learn phase, foster a whole-class discussion to ensure that all the students have well mastered the concepts included in the interactive activities. Resolve one of the exercises with the whole class to emphasize a particular concept or skill.
In this phase, students get to develop a more in-depth understanding of the topic. Guide them to apply what they have learned and extend their knowledge.
Inform students that their food miles can be calculated and have them follow the guidelines provided in the I Elaborate worksheet to calculate the food miles of their favorite dish.
Have students discuss their results with their group members. Their discussion should include the value of each student's food miles of their weekly food consumption and their alternatives.
Now, students have to prepare a dish with a minimal number of food miles. Remind students that if they have grown plants at home, food miles might be zero!
In the food exhibition, students are encouraged to bring the dish they have prepared and add a label that includes the number of food miles of each component in addition to the total number of food miles. Each group of students should present their dish to the class (or other students and teachers in the school), explain their results, and elaborate on the importance of having minimal food miles dishes.
After the exhibition, encourage them to increase the awareness of the public on social media by creating a Facebook page, tweeting about their learning, developing their environmentalist avatars, etc. The following quote for Dalai Lama might motivate students to perform this task:
"Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality"
- In this phase, students evaluate their work through self-assessment and peer assessment and/or reflect on their learning.
- Have students individually reflect on their learning by responding to the following prompts.
1. Have you changed any ideas you used to have / behaviors you used to do as a result of the learning you acquired in this unit? Explain.
2. Do you feel that you, as one person, can make a difference in this world? Relate your answer to what you have learned in this unit.3. What were some of the most challenging moments that you faced while fulfilling the tasks of this project and what made them so?